Chairman confident for successful IOW fair
Published 12:13 pm Friday, September 13, 2013
ISLE OF WIGHT—Mike Stephens is excited about this year’s Isle of Wight County Fair, especially after the seafood food festival on Wednesday.
“Yes, it was better than expectations, and it continues to grow,” said Stephens, who is the event chairman. “It’s the best by far, with an excess of 1,000 people. Last year there were 700-plus.”
“We had good food, awesome entertainment, a good crowd and no complaints,” he continued. “All went well.”
The forecast this weekend also encourages Stephens.
“We should set all new records if weather holds like today (Thursday), especially if the weather gets cooler.”
The National Weather in Wakefield on Thursday afternoon calls for partly sunny skies today with highs around 80, breezy with winds up to 15-20 mph, and lows in the upper 50s. Sunny on Saturday with highs around 70. Clear on Sunday with highs in the mid-70s, and lows in the mid-50s.
Last year’s attendance was reported at 33,732 people. The Tidewater News reported earlier this year that the fair earned distinction in a communications segment for being Best Large Fair Overall in 2012. This was awarded during the Annual Virginia Association of Fairs Conference in Hot Springs. The local event had placed in 14 out of 18 competitions.
He said there could be some traffic getting in and out owing to an expected increase in attendance, and added, “Come out early and stay all day.
“We’ve improved our parking,” Stephens said. Members of the Central Hill Hunt Club will monitor the lot until the last car leaves each night. The VFW in Smithfield will be collecting the admission fees. The Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Department, the Windsor Police and Virginia State Police will also be present for overall security at the fair.
He encouraged people to come out tonight to see Chris Cagle perform at 9 p.m. today. “Chris has been on national charts for several years,” added Stephens. Joe Nichols plays at 9 p.m. Saturday, and The Farm performs at 4 p.m. Sunday. All will be on the main stage.
He reminded people to look for the Zerbini Family Circus, the King BMX Stunt Show and Horses, Horses, Horses!
“They’re all great ground acts,” Stephens said.
He counted at least 24 food vendors on site, serving everything from fish tacos to chicken on a stick.
“You name it, we’ve got it,” said Stephens.
In addition to vendors for commercial exhibits and crafts, there will be bull-riding and tractor pulls. A petting zoo, farm animal shows, 4-H exhibits and heritage competition are also planned.
“This is the largest agriculture fair in eastern Virginia,” he said. “There’s something for everybody.”